Edward R. McDonough, superintendent of the Portsmouth School Department in New Hampshire for the past six years, will return to Maine as superintendent of Regional School Unit 5, which includes Freeport, Durham and Pownal.

By unanimous vote at a board meeting Wednesday night, the RSU 5 Board of Directors confirmed McDonough as the new superintendent. McDonough, 59, will assume his new duties in August.

“It’s a strong district and a great opportunity for me,” McDonough said following the vote.

McDonough will succeed Bill Michaud and Mike Lafortune, who are serving as co-superintendents for one year. They agreed to the one-year stint following the resignation of Shannon Welsh last winter. McDonough becomes the third superintendent in the six-year history of RSU 5, which includes Freeport, Durham and Pownal.

McDonough also has worked for 24 years as an educator in Wells and Ogunquit, including seven years as superintendent. He also was a teacher, coach, high school principal and assistant superintendent in that district.

A 12-member search committee headed by Beth Parker of Freeport received 26 applications and interviewed six candidates for the job. The committee selected four of them for school board interviews.

Parker said prior to Wednesday night’s meeting that the board’s choice will unite RSU 5, which remains intact following Freeport’s attempt to withdraw last year.

“I saw in him the opportunity to bring us forward,” Parker said. “He’s very well-rounded, has a lot of experience and some qualities that we were looking for to move us forward.”

Edward R. McDonough

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